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Conditional Veto Could Gut Affordable-Housing Policies, Advocates Say

“The point is (the money) would be going towards housing,” he said. “I understand their argument, but the point is that it is still being put to a use that is consistent with the Fair Housing Act and the Mount Laurel doctrine.”

The league had supported the earlier Senate legislation and thinks the governor’s veto will offer all sides in the affordable-housing debate a chance to come to the table.

“We appreciate the underlying intent of the veto -- that the stakeholders have to sit down and forge a compromise,” he said. If the critics are serious and “if the housing advocates and other stakeholders object to the current regulations, they should be willing to sit down with us and try to work out a legislative fix. Now, the time is right for the Legislature to come in and address the regulations. It is the most effective and efficient way to address this issue and avoid long litigation.”

Some in the environmental community were also critical of the governor’s proposal. Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, called it a “sellout to developers,” because it would increase the number of market-rate units that could be built from 80 percent of a development under current law to 90 percent under the governor’s proposal and make it easier to build in sensitive areas, because the proposal changes rules governing the Highlands and other regions.

“Gov. Christie is using this conditional veto to go after environmentally sensitive land, creating open season on open spaces,” he said in a press release.

The proposal, if approved, he said, would “enrich developers at the expense of the environment” and “promotes sprawl and overdevelopment while increasing pollution, taxes, and traffic.”

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